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Parafilm (Laboratory Film)


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Parafilm® M Barrier Film

Flexible, Moldable, Self-sealing Barrier to Moisture Loss

Parafilm® M and Dispenser

Parafilm® M is a unique self-sealing, moldable and flexible film for numerous uses in the typical laboratory including the typical electron microscope laboratory. Parafilm® M has unique permeability properties, impressive water vapor transport properties, and is resistant to many common reagents. With the use of the special Parafilm® M dispenser, which are sized to take either the 2" (50.8 mm) or 4" (101.6 mm) wide rolls, one can conveniently cut off uniform sized strips or squares of 2" (50.8 mm) length. The thickness of all Parafilm products is 0.005 (127µm) and although we are often asked about the availability of other thicknesses, there is, at this time, no possibility for the making of the product in any other thickness. Another novel characteristic of Parafilm is the ease with which one can make a "dead fold".

Parafilm: A whole family of products Parafilm M laboratory sealing film has become so successful worldwide that new products have been introduced for specific markets such as Parafilm Budding (Grafting) Tape, Parafilm® Florist Stem Wrap, and Floratape®. A comparison between these different Parafilm products can be understood in a very short time period.

Laboratory: Parafilm® is ideal for the scientific laboratory because it is a thermoplastic, self-sealing film. It holds moisture loss to a minimum. And it offers excellent protection for the contents of broth tubes, flasks, culture tubes and petri dishes. The unique properties of the film enable it to cling around even irregular shapes and convoluted surfaces. Even a flask falling off need not necessarily result in a terrible spill and clean-up. Assuming it has been sealed properly with Parafilm® M, the liquid contents are protected against spillage and contamination and/or evaporation.

Microscopy Laboratory: Protect the contents of tubes, flasks and petri dishes from moisture loss with flexible, moldable Parafilm® M the self-sealing, odorless, colorless, semi-transparent thermoplastic film that molds easily around the top of lab containers. Permeable by oxygen and CO2. Parafilm M® is ideal for many lab applications. For electron microscopy, use for picking up floating grids and films from liquid surfaces.

Special unique to TEM application: Parafilm® M makes the perfectly hydrophobic surface for transferring small amounts of reagent to a TEM grid. Dispense a single drop of reagent onto the Parafilm surface, it will form a nice non-spreading "bead" against which a grid can be "touched" to the liquid, picking up a controlled amount of liquid by the grid. Especially useful where expensive reagents are involved.

Hospitals: Parafilm® M makes a superior bandage cover in drainage cases. It is useful in all hospital laboratories and medical stocking areas. It is ideal when used as a tray and shelf liner to prevent slippage and breakage of bottles, containers, and instruments. Parafilm M can also be sterilized using either radiation techniques or hydrogen peroxide.

Gardening and Horticulture: Parafilm is a unique budding tape. It forms excellent seals to the wound and protects the scion bud from rain, dust, and fog. Perhaps of even greater importance it helps to prevent the loss of moisture and the bud from drying out. Note: Consider the newest version of Parafilm for use as a budding tape.

House plants: Many applications for innovative activities involving house and other indoor plants.

Availability of "bulk" Parafilm:
We are sometimes asked about purchasing the waxy resin, not on already processed rolls of material but in some kind of bulk form. And the answer is simply that the product is available in the below listed four formats of the product and the manufacturing operation is such that no other sizes can be considered. Another question has to do with what is a good solvent for Parafilm so that some quantity could be dissolved. And we recommend chloroform as the best solvent for Parafilm. Ethyl ether would also work but it is even more hazardous if not also explosive. However, even for the use of chloroform, strict precautions must be taken in order to prevent exposure to the vapors.

Government Approvals:
Parafilm has never been tested, to our knowledge, for use with food and it does not have any approval for such use from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration). We are not aware of anything in the composition of Parafilm that would be a hazard for food use, but we want to make the point that no such approval has been given for such use. For Europe, the equivalent statement is a bit more complicated. There have been a few reports of evidence that low levels of certain phytotoxins can be released at low levels, specifically butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Now having said all of that, we are told by the manufacturer that all materials used in the formulation of Parafilm M have been approved for direct food contact and in some materials, can actually quality as food additives.

It is always nice to hear that there can be new markets we can reach by providing more information. Our problem is that the only protection we have from being duplicated are trade secrets surrounding Parafilm-M. To go down the road of laying out the nature of all the impurities chips away at this protection. In my opinion, the best way to approach the purity question is that all the materials in Parafilm-M have been approved for direct food contact and some cases qualify as additives for foods. There may be cases where information can be disclosed under an secrecy agreement, but this must be taken up on a case by case basis.

Do not use near open flame!
Although Parafilm® M is a unique "waxy" material, it is nevertheless, not too different from candle wax, and is therefore flammable. It should not be used near open flames such as a bunsen burner.

Shelf life:
Parafilm® M is quite inert, but nothing of an organic nature lasts "forever". One can expect three years without deterioration of the unique properties of Parafilm provided it is stored between 7°C and 32°C and at 50% relative humidity.

  Part Number   Name
List Price
  80033   Parafilm 4" x 125 ft. 
  $ 29.00
  $ 22.00